Friday, June 19, 2009

Summertime and the livin' is easy

When I proposed a two week long summer break, followed by "fun" summer school sessions, I was practically boo-ed out of town. So the kids are having their lazy summer vacation. The books have been put away. The school-morning routines will have to be re-learned, for sure. But clearing the cobwebs from their little minds in the fall just may not be necessary.

We've all been working on our Spanish. Nicholas is using typing software to learn how to type instead of peck, totally of his own accord. Noah is learning to play the melody to Greensleeves on his mandolin, even though his teacher is AWOL. Elijah is gaining proficiency in counting money through playing a Reader Rabbit computer game.

Nicholas spent several hours one day measuring and drawing to scale the layout of our home, including immovable furniture (the piano and woodstove). All other furniture was measured and added to the layout with tagboard pieces. His motivation? It looked like fun, and the next time I want to rearrange the furniture, it will save him from making unnecessary moves- since he's usually the muscle behind my madness. You can see a miniature version of his floorplan in this photo. We also realized that we can use magnets on our metal doors to hold up posters instead of using pushpins and making holes in all the walls. We've lived here for over 2 years, and I just now thought of that. Sometimes I am slow.

In preparation for learning American history next school year, we have purchased the Liberty's Kids videos. My children have been absorbed in the story of the American Revolution since, and their play reflects it. During the episode about Thomas Paine's Common Sense, Noah looked at me and asked, "Mom, is that the same Thomas Paine who was a deist?" Me: "Ummm... (consult Google)... Yes! How did you know that?" It's amazing the things they learn from The Sugar Creek Gang (the everynight bedtime story). The children also tried writing their own invisible messages after watching Liberty's kids. I found the results the next day... There was also a sticky spot on the floor where someone spilled the lemon juice and neglected to clean it up. They are still kids, of course.
I've kept myself busy making teaching aids. We've laminated fish for alphabet fishing, and made these lighthouse cards to use with math. Our first Konos lesson deals with lighthouses, so these shapes (purchased at the Dollar Tree!!!) will make for a fun way to tie math into that. I've also gotten a jump on making some necessary posters for science.

Painting is always a fun activity. I watch for discounted painting supplies when I'm out and about. These canvases were half-price at Hobby Lobby, and made for a good 1 1/2 hour project today with the outside temperatures in the 90s.